South African Airways (SAA) is optimistic of resuming flights between Johannesburg and Malawi later this week.
“The airline advises customers that the airline is likely to resume flights between Johannesburg and Blantyre, Malawi on Saturday, 2 February 2019,” said the national carrier.
The airline cancelled flights due to the implementation of a corrective action plan following audit findings at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre relating to the condition of the airport.
On 18 January, SAA took a decision to cancel flights between the two cities after the audit process which confirmed that the airport was not fully compliant with minimum standards required for SAA to operate in line with its licensing conditions.
“We took steps immediately after we suspended operations to Blantyre and dispatched personnel from our head office to augment our staff in Blantyre to attend to the audit findings to ensure compliance with our licensing conditions,” said SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali.
SAA put together a Corrective Action Plan and submitted it for consideration by its regulator, South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).
The airline, working together with the Malawian authorities as well as stakeholders such as the Malawian Ministry of Transport and the local municipality in Blantyre, implemented the required interventions to return the airport to expected levels for safe operations.
On Thursday, SAA notified SACAA that the remedial interventions have been implemented.
“We now await SACAA inspection of the airport and demonstration to them that we have successfully implemented required interventions as per our corrective action plan. Until measures put in place meet the satisfaction of SACAA, our operations between Johannesburg and Blantyre will remain suspended.”
SAA operates a three weekly service between Johannesburg and Blantyre (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays).
The airline said the inspection will take place on Wednesday, with the airline optimistic that the regulator will be satisfied with the measures implemented.
The airline apologised to its customers for the inconvenience caused by the closure.
SAA will confirm the date for the reinstatement of the service the SACAA has granted permission to resume flights. It is anticipated that flights will resume on Saturday, 2 February 2019. – SAnews.gov.za